It's bizarre that the first blog post I do is the one that could eliminate my interior plant design and installation service altogether, but I can't stop thinking about how easy houseplant care could be if folks made this one simple change.
Ready? Lean in close...
Don't. repot. your plants.
That's it. That plastic nursery pot they come in when you buy them? Keep them in there. Then purchase a plant liner and a sweet decorative pot that's a touch bigger than the plant itself. Set the liner inside the decorative pot, then the plant inside the liner. Voila. That's literally it.*
Now, for the whys.
1 The number one issue I see in interior plants clinging onto life is insufficient drainage. People take their plants out of the nursery pot, add soil to a pot, and shove it in so it's nice and compact. Then they water. They water, and water, and water. And that water has no place to go, so it just sits in the pot, slowly drowning the plant in stagnant H2O (which, by the way, is a breeding ground for pests). By keeping your plant in it's nursery pot, the water is able to drain out of it's holes, the liner catches the overflow, and if you can control your heavy watering hand, the excess water can evaporate in a timely manner.
2 This protects the plant's root system. Most folks buy a plant, pull it out of it's nursery pot, rough up the roots as a way to get them to "breathe", then plant it in additional soil. In reality, your houseplants thrive in the cozy, untouched root home the nursery pot provides. Most interior plants can live and thrive for years in their nursery pots, so if your plant is starting to look sad, there are multiple other factors you might adjust before you consider repotting it into a bigger home.
3 Eliminates much of the adjustment period. Unless you live or work in an environment similar to the greenhouse your new houseplant was purchased from, there's going to be an adjustment to it's new surroundings. Dropped or drooping leaves is not altogether abnormal. By keeping the plant in it's nursery pot, you're giving it it's best chance at an easy transition.
Now, without fail, I will get comments or messages from houseplant mavens that boast about their jungalow and how they repot all their plants five times a day and look how they're thriving, Rachael! LOOK! And to them, I tip my hat. But, unless you're a seasoned plant veteran that prioritizes foliage care, keep it in it's nursery pot. Trust me.
Happy planting, y'all!
*Naturally, there are additional steps you can take to make your interior plants more aesthetically pleasing - like making sure the nursery pot isn't too big for it's decorative vessel and sticking out. In this situation, I trim the nursery pot down. They're plastic, so it's easy to do with a pair of household scissors.